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Estate Planning for Blended Families – Part Two

INTRO: I spend most of my time helping clients establish and update their estate plans so that they can efficiently pass on assets to loved ones. I also like to help clients enhance or “supercharge” their estate plans so as to transform them into real “legacy plans.” A powerful way to do this, as described in my article below (and on my website) is to have a legacy video created. Your video can be your heart-felt way to share special life stories, values, life lessons, or any number of things you deem important. This can be a source of meaning and joy to your loved ones and future descendants that goes far beyond anything you can do via traditional estate planning.

Frequently, due to modesty, humility or self-doubt, people believe their lives aren’t particularly special. I believe nothing is further from the truth. Everyone has interesting experiences to share and significant lessons they’ve learned.

So, what might you do beyond simply planning for the succession of your monetary assets? You could write an “Ethical Will,” which is not a legal document and can take on any number of different forms. It can be as simple as writing a list of core values; a statement of hopes for loved ones; an expression of gratitude; a brief life story; foundational lessons to share.

Alternatively, you can essentially have your Ethical Will filmed. For many people, just talking about their life is easier and preferable to putting pen to paper. Moreover, the visual medium can create a magnificent, emotional connection to loved ones if filmed and edited well by a professional who specializes in such projects.

My interest in this realm has increased significantly in recent years – both for my own family and for the benefit of my clients. This has led me to develop a great association with April Bell, a well-respected, local professional story-teller and video producer (and really nice person) who has been featured in the N.Y. Times. By arranging for my clients to work with April, they are able to create their own, special, short film, which becomes a wonderful gift to family and friends that can be enjoyed and cherished for decades. It is also very satisfying, if not transformative, to the people making it – reinforcing that they have lived remarkable lives in their own way.

I’m proud and excited to offer my clients the ability to “supercharge” their estate plans – transforming them into true “legacy plans.” They can now seize the opportunity to pass on not only their “valuables,” but also the stories and values that have made them who they are. I encourage you to visit my website ( to view my brief video describing this service and look at the “Legacy Planning” page that contains more detailed information.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.


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